‘It’s a very important issue’: House Republicans Biggest Current Issue Is Needing A Place To Smoke Cigars

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 24, 2024

House Republicans are facing a unique challenge: finding a place to smoke cigars. This seemingly small problem has turned into a surprisingly significant issue within the party, causing them to seek help from their leader.

The transition of Rep. Tom Cole to House Appropriations chair has left them without a private smoking area.

The Root of the Problem

The dilemma reportedly began when Rep. Tom Cole assumed the role of House Appropriations chair. In this transition, he lost his Capitol hideaway, a spot that served as a haven for cigar aficionados.

A darkly lit room with red walls, an illuminated cigar sign and leather chairs

Source: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

Allowing former chair Kay Granger to retain her hideaway left Cole and his colleagues without a designated smoking area.

Historical Smoking Spots

House members previously enjoyed smoking in the Speaker’s Lobby, a tradition that was halted by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A non-smoking sign on the glass door of a room

Source: Freepik

This change left lawmakers without a common area for their cigar sessions, adding to the current urgency of finding a new location.

Seeking Solutions from Leadership

The need for a new smoking spot has led lawmakers to call on Speaker Mike Johnson for a solution.

A black and white photo of the dome of the capitol building

Source: Joshua Sukoff/Unsplash

The importance of this issue was highlighted by Rep. Tom Cole and echoed by other Republicans, emphasizing the need for immediate action.

The Quest for a New Hideaway

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler humorously suggested that they might resort to smoking in Speaker Johnson’s office if no other solution is found.

A person holds a magnifying glass over a keyboard.

Source: Agence Olloweb/Unsplash

“Others will supply the alcohol, and we’re just going to sit in his office, light up and not leave until Tom Cole gets a hideaway,” he joked.

The Importance of Tradition

For many lawmakers, smoking cigars is more than just a pastime. It’s a tradition and a way to unwind.

A hand holding a cigarette next to a pile of already smoked cigarettes

Source: Freepik

The lack of a designated smoking area disrupts this tradition, making it a significant issue for the cigar aficionados within the party.


Speaker Johnson's Response

Despite the growing pressure, Speaker Mike Johnson’s office has not commented on the matter.

A large stately building with Greek columns and an ornate dome roof

Source: @ChiefHealthExec/X

This silence has left the issue unresolved and lawmakers waiting for a viable solution to their cigar-smoking dilemma.


Rep. Tom Cole's Determination

Rep. Tom Cole remains committed to finding a solution. “We’re gonna keep pushing to the speaker’s capable hands,” he stated.

The U.S. Capitol seen in the daytime underneath a blue sky.

Source: Elijah Mears/Unsplash

Cole’s dedication to resolving this issue highlights the importance it holds for him and his colleagues.


Balancing Duties and Traditions

The quest for a new smoking spot shows the balance lawmakers strike between their legislative duties and personal traditions.

Two businessmen shaking hands across a table

Source: Freepik

Finding a new hideaway is not just about smoking cigars but about maintaining a sense of normalcy and camaraderie.


The Broader Implications

This issue also allows a peek behind the curtain in terms of the personal nuances of working within the Capitol.

The interior of the White House East Room set up for a press event, featuring a podium with the Presidential Seal. The room is adorned with multiple American flags and Presidential flags

Source: Fine Photographics/Unsplash

While it may seem trivial to outsiders, the need for a smoking area reveals the human side of lawmakers and their need for personal space within a demanding environment.


Looking Ahead

As House Republicans continue their search, the focus remains on finding a suitable hideaway.

A large stone building with Greek columns and a large domed roof set against a well manicured lawn and a blue sky

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The resolution of this issue will not only restore their cigar-smoking tradition but also reinforce the importance of personal spaces for lawmakers.


A Lighthearted Legislative Challenge

The cigar-smoking dilemma of House Republicans serves as a reminder that even in the world of politics, personal and lighthearted issues can arise.

Republican Party symbol, an elephant, crafted from red and blue paper with stars on a dark grey background

Source: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

While it may not be the most pressing legislative matter, it certainly adds a unique twist to the daily lives of lawmakers.